Life is good – with sun, snow and skies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis post should have been published a week or two ago. In the middle of April it is, when you call it “vårvinter”, probably the favourite season of many (northern) Swedes. It is the time between “spring” and “winter”, combining the best attributes – the sun and the snow. It is often warm enough to ski in a t-shirt only, sunny enough to burn your skin and icy enough to go out and fish.

 

never-enough-lapportenThis year I have learned to enjoy this time. No better way to be outside than on skis and with the munchkin pulled along in a comfy pram. I have also learned to truly appreciate the silence when being out alone. It is a strange feeling to see a landscape that empty. Here and there are snowhare tracks crossing, once in a while a moose walks over the hardened snowmobile tracks, but that is it. But this silence, this emptiness of the space around, this is really a gift. Maybe it takes the background of a life spend in noisy cities, but maybe it is one of the things people in small places like that love the most. It calms your mind being out here, it washes away all those busy thoughts.

Once in a while I read some news about the world and it always, always poisons my mind. It makes me upset. There are rarely any good news. Whenever I feel upset like that I go outside, I walk, ski or run a few kilometres and somewhere along the way the “medicine” kicks in. It is nothing more than having all this pure nature around and it takes over the bad and sad thoughts. After a while I feel calm, I dream about going on longer excursions, crossing this valley over there and climbing that mountain over here. I think about my friends, my family and all the good things in my life. funWhen I return it made my day.

I also discovered something the people in Abisko have, which is a true rare thing out there in our “modern world”. I would like to bottle it and sell it. But it is simply time. Time to stop and talk to each other. It is often not more than a few words about the weather, about what you did the other day, life here and the job there, but it is those few minutes – and if you know half the village those minutes add up – I enjoy a lot. I feel rich having this time just spending chatting, because non of those meetings are planned. If I go to the store I do not know if it takes me half an hour or one-and-a-half hour. I also spend this time by myself, just watching the skyline in just the right light or a bird in the tree next to me. It is those moments which not just make my day but add up to the story book of my life. And guess what? The bird in the tree next to me the other day was a hawkowl, just sitting there outside our house. I spend around half an hour watching it while it was watching everything else. Oh, and no, I had no camera with me.

different-view

Update: since a few days the time of “May” has started. “May” is the worst month I heard up here. It is “neither … nor”, slush and mud, wet snow or soft snow, even no snow. Something in between, but nothing right. But with time on my side I will continue going out and find a way because no matter what, being outside is always better than being inside!

Enjoy your outdoors!

 

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The best winter

Being active, being out there is the main thing to do. Sure we have a lovely small gym in town and gather for a weekly work-out. But with the best playground right outside our door:

wildplayground we are just happy about going out every day!

Our main activity was x-country skiing. We discovered the tracks in Björkliden (village around the corner) and the ones in Kiruna (nearest shopping centre). Just nine miles east the land is almost flat and the pine trees take oOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAver. The forest looks very much like any forest down south and skiing there feels like being in Dalarna preparing for the Vasaloppet.

Skiing in Björkliden, along the Rallarvägen (Navvy Road) there is always a piece of history to discover. One day a friend and I stopped to visit “Rallarkyrkogård”, with the oldest crosses set 1900. The railroad between Kiruna and Narvik was build between 1898 and 1902. Back in those days this work was handcraft. The hard work, the harsh arctic climate and diseases like tuberculosis killed many men and women. The need of the railroad was based on the mine in Kiruna and transporting the ore to the nearest harbour. But still today a lot of the tourism (with skiing, hiking and Northern lights) and the ongoing ore transports are based on the railroad. It is worth to be reminded about those men and women working so hard to make this possible.

kyrkogard

We also keep up with snowshoeing, sometimes uphill, sometimes running. Depending on the snow conditions (which easily change daily) snowshoeing is easier than skiing. The downside is going downhill. We still have to find a better when then simply walking down.

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